Funny Bones Reviews
While the film's subplot about a mystical eastern powder smuggled in large wax eggs at first appears better edited out, it provides a tenuously apt metaphor.
The greatest part of this charming story comes from learning about the family and their history. And we learn of the tragedy and pathos deep within their comedy.
I've always firmly believed the old tenet that the best comedy has threads of tragedy (or menace) in it. And in England, failed comic Tommy discovers this as well. As Tommy, Oliver Platt shows his own pathos from the start and is remarkable. The rest of the cast is a marvel: Leslie Caron is absolutely gorgeous, especially in her man's shirt, untucked, singing a cabaret song. The procession of old vaudevillians are a delight in a montage, and Freddie Davies and George Carl as an aging brother act are a revelation, a beacon illuminating the forgotten immense talent of days gone by. But the film belongs to the remarkable talents of young Lee Evans as the perhaps dimwitted son Jack. Here, we see in Evans, and in his character, a source of comedy so organic and abundant that Jim Carrey and his characters now look utterly forced and sham. And it's a shame that Evans is not as well known worldwide as Carrey; this fact being another of comedy's tragedies. Oddly, or aptly, Jerry Lewis plays one of the most serious characters in the film because he has to confront and admit the source of his own comedy. To the Jerry Lewis-phobic audience, fear not: he is actually very good here, probably because he largely, generously, takes a back seat to the more central characters. In Hitchcock parlance, Lewis' character is something of the "MacGuffin" that drives the larger story, and Lewis appears to understand this.
The style of direction is quirky, showing much charm in the old seaside town in England that was, in some long ago day (when the sun seemed to shine every day), a center for quality vaudeville. And the viewer gets to delight in two hours' evidence of what Platt's character believes: that (in my favorite line of the film), "...all the best things in life belong to the past."
Overall, hardly a perfect film. Yet it's one that stays with you. There's much love, charm and laughs in this work that may leave you feeling compelled to add to your list of all-time favorites.
My Grade: D+
Reviewed by Kevin O'Keefe on IMDB
Funny Bones,is a hidden gem from the mid-nineties, largely unheard of it, it hosts all manner of fantastic British talent, from Lee Evans to the incomparable George Carl. With the unique British wit and humour infused throughout, this is definitely something special, that has unfortunately flown under a lot of people‚??s filmic radar.
Oliver Platt is Tommy Fawkes, the son of a hugely famous comedian George Fawkes(Jerry Lewis), however Tommy is not a very good comedian, and after ‚??dieing on stage‚?? in Vegas, he decides to run away and then travels to Blackpool, where his father made his name, to try and buy an act to make it into the business. Soon he runs into Jack Parker(Lee Evans), a troubled young comedian, who is no longer allowed to perform due to his dark past, soon we discover the Parker and Fawkes family histories intertwine.
Firstly, the performances here are both convincingly and surreal, delving into the abstract nature of comedy that Britain has enjoyed since ‚??Monty Python‚?? and before. Whilst not as surrealist, there is a definitive theme of the abnormal running throughout. Oliver Platt does a fantastic job as the comedian on the edge, overshadowed by his father, and Lee Evans character consumes us as we learn about his dark past. Even the supporting cast impress at every turn, full of life, character and personality.
Director, Peter Chelsom, has done a superb job of directing, injecting soul into this movie. Choosing to use the camera as a window into their world, often giving us unusual and distorting views, not too mention the absence of digetic sound and colour in some instances, rather than favouring the clich√©d, he‚??s made this film his own. The excellent use of sound in terms of digetic and music is superb, doing a frankly outstanding job of showcasing the talent in this movie, without making it solely about them. No wonder this film picked up awards at some international film festivals.
Funny Bones is a true character driven piece, that has fortunately been blessed with a director who was seemingly born to make this film, and we as an audience can feel the love that put into making this movie. Whilst not all audiences will appreciate the film, those who do like it will soon have it listed as one of their favourites, an amazing film, truly unmissable, moving and hilarious all at once.
A unique story, with a touch of magic about it, this movie draws you in throughout and by the end you just want to go back to the start and re-live it all.
Oliver Platt (as Tommy Fawkes) plays his finest role by far and, although I expect many people's favourite scene is Jack Parker's unforgettable one-man show (where his character first meets Tommy) but for me I couldn't get enough of the little variety acts that are performed in front of Tommy Fawkes. Where these acts came from I don't now, but they provided sheer joy, all to a terrific soundtrack.
This film will not be everybody's cup of tea, but give it a go, if you take to it you will never forget it.